No player on the Colts’ 90-man roster flashed more in recent weeks than Hilton. And no player has to be more excited about the return of No. 12 than No. 13, whose skill set was hampered last season after Luck went down and the downfield threat disappeared. This spring, with Luck back under center, Hilton has starred.
“T.Y.’s had as good an offseason as anybody,” Pagano gushed a few weeks back. “I’ve never seen this guy practice as fast as he is right now and compete at the level he is.”
Hilton admitted he was ticked off about last season, about watching the playoffs from home for the first time in his four-year career. When he returned to the field, he dueled Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis for much of the spring. Hilton won more than his fair share.
Also of note: Hilton is no longer just the No. 1 target. He’s the elder statesman in the receivers room for the first time in his career — Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne owned that distinction in years past. Hilton must deliver this season, and he knows it. Watch out. No. 13 could be in line for a career year.
In 22 games over the past two seasons with a healthy Andrew Luck, Hilton has averaged 5.1 catches for 86 yards and 0.45 TD. Those are fringe WR1 numbers in PPR formats and solid WR1 numbers in standard leagues. With Luck back under center, Hilton should have a bounce back season after finishing #22 in both formats.
Harper, undrafted out of Cal, had a productive preseason for the Pats. He caught a few breaks along the path to a spot on the 53-man roster, too. Brandon Gibson, who looked like a good bet to make the team, suffered a torn ACL in the Pats' second preseason game, and the Reggie Wayne signing didn't work out.
The Pats brought Thompkins, a favorite target of Brady's, back into the fold this past week. He spoke Monday about what it's like to be back "home" in New England. The Pats also reportedly worked out ex-quarterback-turned-receiver Terrelle Pryor Tuesday.
Brandon Bolden has previously filled the role of starting running back, but never consistently. He has registered only three career games of 10+ carries.
This past year, Bolden never carried more than five times in a game; in Week 16 against the Jets, when LeGarrette Blount was injured, Bolden carried five times, Jonas Gray carried six times and Shane Vereen carried six times.
We could see a similar distribution between Bolden, James White and Dion Lewis Thursday (although the overall number of attempts might be slightly higher, because the Jets dominated time of possession in that Week 16 game).
Pittsburgh ranked 6th in rush defense and 27th in pass defense a year ago, so the Pats -- also thin at wide receiver with Brandon LaFell on PUP and Reggie Wayne cut -- could feature lots of Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler. If Travaris Cadet is available, he could figure into the passing game, too. This may not be a 25-carry game on the ground.
The position that must sort it self out is the pass-catching, change-of-pace back. Whoever it is should have a fairly significant role in the offense. Right now, the first choice has to be Lewis, who displayed terrific change-of-direction and underrated power when given the opportunity in the preseason. Lewis can pass protect and has enough punch to run between the tackles.
The good news is once Blount returns Week 2, if healthy, the story said he should lead the team in attempts, yards and TDs for the season. In terms of pass catching, White has proved slippery in the open field, as well as Lewis. And Cadet hasn't proven anything as a member of the Patriots, which should be an indication of how much the team likes him. They kept him around despite not seeing him at all in the preseason due to a hamstring injury, the story went on to say. After what should be a committee approach Week 1, signs continue to point to Blount as the main back, but there remains three pass-catching options which could cause headaches for fantasy owners.
Sep 05, 2015 · 5:07 PM EDT
If Reggie Wayne's going to continue his NFL career, it won't be in New England. Wayne was cut by the Patriots on Saturday after only 12 days with the team.
There is an odd side to this story though, according to ESPN.com, Wayne actually asked the Patriots to release him.
The former Colts signed with the Patriots on Aug. 24 and suited up four days later for the New England's Week 3 preseason game against the Panthers.
Although Wayne caught zero passes in that game, he did see more playing time in the Patriots final preseason game against the Giants.
In the 12-9 loss to New York, Wayne caught two passes for 24 yards.